Art & Literature Join Forces
Art and Poetry
The Club’s Literary and Visual Arts Committees are collaborating on a celebration of poetry and art, whereby Club artists will choose one of the poems below and interpret it through a work of visual art. An exhibition of these works, with the poems, was scheduled for April 2020, but this has been postponed until exhibitions are able to resume at the Club. In the meantime, please enjoy the poets’ contributions.
MY FATHER’S CADILLACS
On the morning of my daughter’s
birth my father touched down in
a Cadillac – sky-blue and
sleek-finned, irreductable, molecular
in essence and
announced it had forever
been his dream to pilot
such a celestial beast
on the occasion of his
elevation to grand-fatherdom.
No one believed this
beatific vision, least of all
my mother, but looking back now
I see the inspiration of
Cadillacs in the creamy Impalas
and bottle-blue Buicks, in the balloon-
that had been my father’s
to acquire and sell year after
year, remembering in particular a panel
on a ‘57 Chevy so turquoise you
could swim through it to the sky.
My father’s Cadillac was a great star-
going galleon of pistons and silence;
he was the skipper; famous
down the Florida coast,
cruising over continents, and
hovering over days of toil
until finally he grew too old
for Cadillac dreaming
and auctioned the hulk for
four hundred dollars, saying that’s
an end to it. And so it was
for three weeks
when he emerged from the doors of
Cadillac II whose sheen and dimensions
were even more transcendent
than the first – a divine
transport of sensors and gauges.
From the summit of microchip Olympus
my father computed his most recent
parsec per gallon. Then with seatbelts
secured, he flicked the antigravity.
The sparks flew like a violent rage
and away he soared
to the shooting red firmament.
by Martin D. Jones
Against white landscapes winter’s sheets provide,
Crisp-biting frosts bare trees and branches etch;
On rigid, frozen racks each twig they stretch
As though to hear it snap before it died.
Spring’s juices sweeten lilac, rose and mint
To soften frosted edge and life regain;
Still-slanting rays sun’s energy restrain,
Yet, let evolve a soft-toned aquatint.
Earth’s canvas summer paints with palette full
Anointing all with pigments gaudy-hued,
Each clothed with colours primary imbued;
Then flaunted raiment yields to autumn’s pull.
Moon, sun and stars great yearly circles show,
While earth portrays the mighty seasons’ flow.
by Raymond Peringer
“Measure twice cut once” say the wise,
For they saw through the dust of human frailty.
The unattainable perfection of deities remains
The destiny we write to reinforce our egos,
Whilst we dance naked,
In woods surrounded by
Our imagination wrapped in blankets
Of fear, doubt, faith and sorrow.
Borrow the cutlass,
Wield the axe,
Fell the axiom
Not the tree
In the garden full of knowledge,
Cut twice for good measure.
by Cyrus Sundar Singh
She only asked him to make the stones dance
And her children cried out at the sound of his lyre.
Now she sees in his eyes the distant fire.
Dark ringlets fall about his lips; his hands
No longer touch the strings, but beckoned plants
Take up the chords. What does it mean, this choir,
The tumbling earthen walls, the broken spires
Of their home? He gives it but a moment’s glance.
She had only asked once more for those tricks
That won her love. How could she guess
That a god, tired of her flesh, lovesick,
Would choose this moment to confess
A life’s boredom? He sought forces more quick
Than those that danced beneath her dress.
by Marc Egnal
THE SPIDER AND THE UNIVERSE
The spider knows
Like a sure
compass she paces
out the bounds of her decided
which side of her is
Narrowing in she fastens
back to the centre where she
rests or plots, she doesn’t
our spider sleeping
tight round her centre
though the thunder
by Marvyne Jenoff
From Hollandsong, Oberon Press, 1975
The glass cat lamp’s defunct, avalanched
off the desk in a spate of falling files.
The body’s scattered now, under the desk and further,
in unreachable situations.
Peering and grieving I see its tilted base
and the bulb that bred such blooming in the glass,
such flares of tabby patterning,
no bigger than a candle, emptied of light.
“Let’s sweep it up,” the cleaning lady says.
But as I stoop I’m caught, gawking at the shapes
that burst from shape. The once sleek haunch is now
a ragged wing, toiler in arctic seas.
A shard of curving breast’s become a comb,
freckled and crescent in anchoring strands of sun,
toothed and longer pieces gleam obsidian.
The smallest, deep in carpet pile, glint blood.
Only the metal head’s intact, tangled
in thick desk undergrowth. The cast-off paper
and lost pens obscure the mild cat smile,
and the patina’d eyes look darker now
as it surveys its shattered sinews.
It could be the prow of a ship going
soberly down. Or the captain
who goes down with it.
by Norma Rowen
The artist tells me
that this is a fugitive colour
that its brilliance
its sweet rose red
reminiscent of spring
of the lips of a babe
fine and fleeting
bright as the light
caught in a ruby
or a real rose.
Fine and fleeting
like a red leaf
like a living thing.
by Rosemary Aubert
2017 in Lummox anthology number six
by Lummox Press, page 12.
A pink plastic paperclip lies prone on
the counter, its curve-return-curve
out of reach of the dishcloth: I miss it
as I swipe the crumbs into the trash
with my ruthless urge to order.
My husband comes by, saying
“I’ve got a foster home for paperclips,”
and takes it to his room, to a little box
where it waits in readiness,
the color of a girl’s barrette.
I might have chucked it,
and this is why the gods terrify me.
Yet they merely interest him, among all
the other beings in the world, including me,
whom he still finds useful,
even inspiring my new goal:
to personify everything,
each in the bloom of its use,
becoming a poet after all.
by Molly Peacock
“The Pink Paperclip” was published in The Second Blush,
McClelland and Stewart, 2009.
JACKSON POLLACK’S CHAMELEON
When Jackson Pollock needed fun,
He shopped for a chameleon.
Like traffic lights, their colours shift.
They make the painter’s perfect gift.
He hadn’t realized that if
The tiny creature caught a whiff
Of paint, the agile pet might go
Directly to his studio
And hug the canvasses it saw
With colours that were bright and raw.
So Pollock cannot sell his art
Because he cannot tell apart
The works it’s safe to see dispatched
And one to which his pet’s attached.
by Warren Clements
Something they show of what they were,
These plinths, these columns disinterred;
Some hint of purest beauty past
They give—and even though they did not last,
Although they fell when fortune turned,
Still, they remind of what was learned
By those who first conceived, then raised
These temples where old gods were praised.
These paradigms of stone and air
Defined for all of time, the fair;
Proportion; beauty; grace and line,
And taught the meaning of sublime.
by Bradley Crawford
I have come far, pulled by an irresistible tug
here, to where the land slips away to the sea.
No stars, a small maverick wind
riffles the leaves of the oak above me.
I stand in the glow of a street lamp
that only deepens
the surrounding darkness.
Loving night and its wildness,
I let it in.
A soft stirring sifts me,
the far away sound of a child, of a dog, . . .
and, coming on the wind,
the cry of my own longing.
I draw nearer and can smell the salt,
picture the spume rising,
hear the waves’ hush.
I move onward into the darkness,
whose raw welcome opens to receive me:
we are old friends, old creators, a happy duo;
now we sway to an old tune,
much thrummed, much loved;
a melody that drifts away and returnson the flow and ebb of its rhythm.
I can hear a sigh, a soughing:
this ocean that has called to me since childhood
knows me intimately, assuredly,and has no doubt, no compunction
in claiming me for its own:
its free-floating, buoyant
rider of soft swells and storms.
I stand on its edge, refreshed
by the reassurance of its wild grace.
by Lucy Brennan
HERMIT THRUSH SINGING
It seems right that from darkening candles,
black spruce, deep aspen,
this one clear upbeat
suspends its plangency.
You have heard its notes, holy days closing
away from work and docket,
da capo strings of peace
on sweet summer air,
and every cutting anguish your body speaks
is stilled for an instant
hush-holding a benediction
too precise for words.
by Bill Aide
“Massenet’s Elegy”, (Oberon Press)